Irish singer and fiddle player Eimear Arkins first came to the United States to Missouri for university. After completing her degree, she headed home to Ireland for a while, returning to St. Louis in 2014 to stay. With her, Arkins brought her fiddle and a singing voice steeped in Irish folk singing tradition from County Clare.
“There’s absolutely no difference between a fiddle and a violin,” Arkins told St. Louis on the Air contributor Steve Potter. “Someone once told me that the only difference is that a fiddle is a violin with whiskey on it. It is just the type of music you play.”
This weekend, Arkins, along with several other performers from Ireland and United States will perform a concert and series of workshops called Tionól, and Irish word meaning “gathering for the purpose of sharing,” for its 20th year.
“[Tionól] really describes what we do,” said Mike Mullins, the festival’s director and Uilleann pipe player. “We bring in some of the top performers and teachers of traditional Irish music. We have a weekend of workshops, concerts and sessions.”
This weekend, there will be concerts at the Focal Point and the Sheldon on Friday and Saturday, respectively. You can find information on those concerts here.
There will also be workshops led by leaders in the Irish traditional craft throughout the day on Saturday. Arkins herself will lead a master class on “slow air” playing for fiddles, pipes, flutes and whistles. There will also be instrument-specific classes. You can find information on those here.
On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Arkins and Mullins played selections of traditional Irish music in-studio and discussed the backstory of the genre.
“The music is never performed the same way twice,” Mullins said.
Listen to the full conversation here:
What: Tionól Concert
When: Saturday, April 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd.
St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region.